It has been 7 years since I had a full fledged manic episode. It has also been 7 years since I’ve been in a psychiatric hospital. I waited until November to write this post because my last hospitalization began in October 2008, and I did not want to write a post in October about how I have been without a manic episode for 7 years for fear of jinxing myself. Luckily, October has passed and I can proudly say that it has officially been 7 good years without a manic episode. That’s not to say I don’t get the typical Bipolar ups and downs, because I do. The difference, and it’s a big difference, is that I have not been 5150’ed and had to stay against my will in a psychiatric ward.
But let’s not turn this post into the horrors and inadequacies of psychiatric wards lest I scare off readers. Instead, I want to focus on all the progress I have made that has kept me out of those “looney bins” (I gotta poke fun to keep from becoming depressed).
In the past 7 years, I graduated from UC Irvine, got married, had 2 wonderful little girls, worked on and off through my pregnancies, bought a home, and have recently interviewed for my dream job (fingers crossed). So, I haven’t discovered any cures or vaccinations, established peace in any turmoiled countries, or created anything other than arts and crafts. Yet, I feel accomplished because not only have I triumphed over my daily mood swing obstacles, but also over life obstacles. I have succeeded in life when I was told after my diagnosis in 2006 that I would not could not do it.
I would like to make clear that this post is not meant to glorify my accomplishments, but rather shed light on a subject that many fail to address: how can you deal with life issues at the same time that you deal with your mental health issues? It’s simple, really. You take it one day at a time and with lots of support. I cannot emphasize enough how establishing a support network for myself has been my saving grace. From close friends and family, to the internet, including this blog and Twitter. I have found a relief and a sense of belonging amongst fellow Bipolar survivors, and have learned so much from them.
Let’s keep the learning going and pass on your knowledge on how to cope and triumph over your diagnosis!